Vintage Expert | Liz Glasgow
Sep 15, 2014 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
Here at Cause A Frockus we love learning about trailblazers and Liz Glasgow’s mom, Hilda, is one such icon. Hilda’s mom was an entrepreneur, her dad a jeweler, and both parents wanted their daughters to reach for the stars. Hilda pursued an artist’s life and was sent to Pratt, graduating in the 30’s. Thanks to her determination and talent, she found herself landing freelance gigs with Vogue. These $10 paychecks were her entry into a career that would span for over thirty years. Hilda’s style and perspective helped define the American fashion industry and Liz’s site, The White Cabinet, is a celebration of these works. We had a chance to talk with this vintage expert about her mom and her projects. Enjoy and please let us know your thoughts in the comments!
New York, USA
The White Cabinet
I’ve been a commercial photographer for over 30 years. The idea to start a site showing off mom’s work came out of the blue four years ago. It was a road that I never could have predicted. I was going to just have a little online store where people could buy prints and then one thing led to another. Now I’m partnered with the Hester and Cook Design Group and our paper products are in over 600 stores!
Learn more about Hilda’s journey on her blog.
As a special treat, select prints (including the recently released lingerie drawings), have an introductory price of 20% off all sizes of their limited edition prints!
The White Cabinet has a great collection of drawings and prints available, what are some of your favorite new offerings?
I just introduced the lingerie collection. Mom did work for department stores as well as lingerie manufacturers, so I had six drawings that are now available as limited edition prints. They are pretty great!
Tell us more about your mom – she sounds like a truly extraordinary woman! What were her favorite looks to capture? How would you describe her creative process? Did she have any “go to” muses or concepts?
Mom was a lot of fun. She was an optimistic person and always felt that everything would turn out right. She graduated from Pratt Institute in 1933, right in the middle of the Great Depression. It wasn’t easy getting that first job, but with the encouragement of her mother, Cilka Richman (another woman ahead of her time), her first client turned out to be Vogue and she got ten dollars a figure – a fortune in those days.
Mom was a happy person and I think that shows in her drawings. When I look at all the drawings, all the women are beautiful, but none are snooty. She did hate snobs! As a commercial artist, whatever jobs came, she gave each the same attention and professionalism. (Whether it was a children’s clothing catalog or a Saks Fifth Avenue ad.)
The studio that I remember was a room in our very large Manhattan apartment. She had a model stand that was about six foot square and six inches high. The models would come in and they would pose and talk. As a child, I think I thought that everyone had friends who would pose for them. She had a drawer filled with crinoline that was put under the skirts to give them an exaggerated shape. With the model there, she got the basic drawing and then, after they left, she would add the washes of color or grey and sometimes changed things a bit.
What does vintage fashion mean to you?
In younger years, all I wore was vintage fashion. I love the 20’s, 50’s, and 60’s best. The clothes seemed to have a bit of a sense of humor then. The exaggerated bows, the odd shaped hats – they were just fun. Oddly, I didn’t get much of the clothing from mom. When I talk to younger women about vintage, they think of the 90’s and I have to laugh because I just think of that as old clothes. But then I realize that in the 70’s I thought 50’s clothing was vintage, so I guess that means that the 90’s are the vintage for the younger generation.
Vintage fashion becomes a tie that binds us to our history. My favorite resources for learning more about the legacy of fashion illustration are The Fashion Institute of Technology blog and On Pins and Needles.
Your mom always captured such confidence. As Steven Stipelman noted in another feature, she had a distinctive style. We love that her work reflected confident, happy, and fearless ladies. Any advice on how to channel that energy?
That’s the eternal question! How do we project confidence? I know that sometimes I have to go into a situation without feeling too secure, but then I think that no one else has to know that. Just act secure and confident and strangely enough, soon it isn’t just acting. One of my favorite quotes is by Basil King: “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” I think that says it all.
You’ve said that the names for the illustrations come from friends, family, and models; how do you select the names to accompany the women pictured?
Each drawing has a distinct personality, so I tried to match them to my family and friends. Also, some are named after movie stars of the day that hold a resemblance to the drawings. Lastly, some are named for models that worked with mom (most of those were matched on a hunch except for ones that Laura, a family friend, could tell me about).
What has been your favorite part of launching The White Cabinet?
My favorite part is watching where this journey is taking me and knowing that there will be more surprises down the road. I am so thrilled that the world is getting to know mom’s work again in such a big way. It’s just amazing!
Cause A Frockus would like to thank the incredible Liz Glasgow of the White Cabinet.
For our readers: How do you feel about fashion illustration? Do you believe more can be captured/conveyed via the pen or the photograph?